The Veterans' Preference

Veterans' preference is a program wherein veterans who have received either an honorable or general discharge will receive either a five or ten point privilege. This is determined by application to the Department of the Interior. Retirees at the rank of major or higher are not eligible unless they are disabled. National Guard and active duty reservists for training purposes are not eligible. These preferences are the requirements listed in section 2108 of title 5, United States Code.

Veterans should indicate on the Federal government resume that they are entitled to and are claiming veteran's preference when applying for federal jobs. If applying for the five-point preference, a copy of DD-214 should be supplied. If a ten-point preference is being applied for, form SF-15 has to be completed when the job offer is received.

With the five-point preference, there will be five points added to the examination score if they served on active duty. This applies to veterans who served from December 7, 1941 through July 1, 1955. Serving for 180 days after January 31, 1955 and before October 15, 1976 also indicates eligibility.

If a veteran served during an expedition or campaign for which a medal has been authorized also sets a standard for eligibility. During the Gulf War, any person who served on active duty is eligible regardless of where the active duty occurred.

To be eligible for the ten point preference a veteran who has served at any time and during that time service resulted in any service-connected disability or is receiving benefits as a result of those injuries and has received a purple heart. Also, a spouse of a deceased veteran or a veteran unable to work or the mother of a veteran who died in service or became totally disabled is also eligible.
Students who have veteran's preference are given priority over students that are equally qualified. The preference establishes a method by which consideration is given to veteran over other applicants for the same position. All eligibility requirements for any person applying for veterans benefits are the same. The same standards apply whether a student or non-student.

The "VetGuide" on the Bureau of Land Management's website states that "eligible veterans receive preference in competitive or excepted service appointments and may be considered for special noncompetitive appointments and merit promotion announcements." Once employed, the veteran's preference does not apply to future positions within the same organization.

These preferences in appointments applies to competitive appointments. The VRA or "Veteran's Recruitment Appointment states that agencies can appoint veterans who are eligible to positions at any level. The VEOA or Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 does provide that agencies will allow veterans to apply for any positions announced under any merit promotions if that agency is recruiting from people other than those already in the agency.

Again, to be eligible for VEOA appointment, the veteran must be eligible for preference or on that has served three or more years of continuous active service under honorable conditions. Some veterans may be eligible if they served just under three years.


Gail Esparan